My mind seemed paralyzed. I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing. There had to be an explanation. I looked back at the Ostrich and the girl.
Was the Ostrich claiming the girl as prey, or defending her? Were the Wolves trying to save her or kill her? My brain hurt with the question. Refused it completely. It was too hard to even consider such a shift in reality. My chest hurt with the very thought, and I realized I had stopped breathing altogether.
As I sucked air, the girl behind the Ostrich seemed to see me sitting in my car staring at her. I was another girl, a human being like the ones she had lost. She suddenly began to run in my direction, tearing violently through the bushes until she broke out onto the road, and leaped across it, just ahead of the Wolves and the Malory-Camera-Guy duo.
Before I knew it she was in the back seat, screaming in my ear, “Drive! For God’s sake - drive!”
Instinctively, I hit the lock button, but there was no way I could drive. I was parked behind an ambulance and the road was blocked. Besides, my brain was misfiring.
“Open the door,” a Wolf commanded through the window.
“Don’t open the door!” The girl screamed.
“The rescued victim is out of her mind with terror!” Malory reported as his camera guy squatted for a better shot through the windows.
“You are safe now. We saved you,” the Wolf said in a soothing voice.
“They killed my mom and dad!” The girl sobbed.
“The Ostriches killed her mom and dad!” Malory echoed.
“Open the door so the medics can take care of you, sweetheart,” the Wolf coaxed.
“Don’t open the door!” the girl begged, “he’ll kill us!”
“He’s gone now,” the Wolf said. “We need to take care of you now. You are all that matters.”
“Another human victim, saved by our heroic Protector Wolves from the violent man-eating Ostriches!” Malory said into the camera as emotional tears ran down his face.
“You killed my parents!” The girl said hoarsely, all of her spirit and fight suddenly draining away.
“Shut off the camera and get out of here,” the Wolf told Malory. “You are disturbing the victim.”
Malory and the Camera Guy obeyed, satisfied with the alarming footage they had scored for the day. The Wolf turned to bark orders at the other two Wolves who were pacing the road, staring into the forest.
“Are you okay?” I asked the girl, turning around to look at her for the first time. She sat slumped over, with her hair hanging on either side of her face, hiding her expression. All the tension and fight had gone out of her and now she just seemed like a limp rag doll.
“I’m Janey,” I said and waited. She glanced up at me through watery, confused eyes.
“Kara,” she whispered.